Wednesday, March 18, 2020

We need more “Our Father, Our King” and less Hysteria and the Rodger Ebert story and the Ramparts of the Jerusalem old city

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

Love Yehuda Lave

1. Matza is called: Food of Faith. Today, more than ever, we need to strengthen our faith and trust in Hashem, that everything comes from Him, everything the He does is good, and that He will spare us from this terrible virus.

2. Matza is called: Food of Remedy. Making sure that everyone eats this Matza on Pesach night, can assure that we not get infected by the CoronaVirus, and that those that have already been infected, should heal soon.

Since we all have different needs, values, and interests, inter-personal conflict is inevitable. To avoid a defensive or hostile reaction, state the problem without blaming anyone. Without blame, you diffuse the tension.

21st Century Synagogue. This was a joke on my blog a few weeks ago--now its no joke!

21st Century Synagogue

RABBI ON MONDAY MORNING IN SHUL: "Will everyone please turn on their tablet, PC, iPad, smart phone, and Kindles to Art Scroll page 232. And please switch on your Bluetooth to download the sermon."
"Now, let us daven. Open your Apps, BBM, Twitter and Facebook, and chat with God"
S-i-l-e-n-c-e .......
"As we accept your kind tzedakah donations, please have your credit and debit cards ready."
"You can log on to the Shul Wi-Fi using the password 'Hashem18.' The Shammes will circulate mobile card swipe machines among the congregants:
Those who prefer to make electronic fund transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the rear of the Shul.
Those who prefer to use iPads can open them.
Those who prefer telephone banking, take out your cell phones to transfer your contributions to the Shul account."
This week's shier will be held on the various Facebook group pages where the usual group chatting takes place. Please log in and don't miss out.
Thursday's Talmud Torah study will be held live on Skype at 1900 hrs GMT. Please don't miss out.
You can follow the Rabbi on Twitter this weekend for counselling and prayers.

We need more "Our Father, Our King" and less Hysteria

The other day, I bemoaned the fact that while the world is falling apart, Israel is used to it, as every other day we have one crisis or another.


I postured (posture to assume a certain attitude or behave in a certain way, especially to make an impression or gain an advantage:) that all of the facts seem to show that we are in Mess-ionic times.


As the world continues to collapse, we know that we are completely in G-d's hands.  If the Messiah comes before Passover (less than three weeks) then our worries are over, but if he doesn't our Jewish infra structures are falling apart.


The Jewish secret to survival. Consider the Book of Esther: Mordaicha and Esther cry out to heaven, fasting and praying until they see the deliverance of Israel and their enemies vanquished. The name of God does not even appear in the book. His Name is hidden, but not His power.


"There is a famous book called  The Choice" by Edith Eva Eger. Eger survived the Holocaust, while her parents were sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. It's her spirit of embracing the possible that makes Eger's post-Holocaust psychology stand out. "We can choose what the horror teaches us," Eger reminds us. "To become bitter in our grief and fear. Hostile. Paralyzed. Or to hold on to the childlike part of us, the lively and the curious part, the part that is innocent."

No matter our struggles, challenges, insecurities or pain, we have the power of choice. The question is, what do we choose? 

"Choose life."

Tradition tells us that on the ninth of Av, we lost the Beit HaMikdash, the Temple, because of the sin of spies who, upon return from the Land of Israel, spoke about the land in an unbecoming way. Yet, the sin of the spies seems quite vague and the punishment so severe. God tells Moshe to take the best and the bravest, the outstanding leaders of the Jewish people to scout the land. These aristocrats do just that, and they come back with their objective assessment of what's taking place. They cite the good (i.e. land flowing with milk and honey), then the bad (i.e. there were giants and a lot of other nations). Their description was accurate. It was honest. And that was the problem. Their objective assessment of the Land of Israel was not good enough.

Kalev, who, in the face of adversity from the other spies, peer pressure and group-think, asserted his own view and heroically declared, "Aloh naaleh, viyarashnu otah, ki yachol nuchal lah," "We can do it! We can conquer the land!"

The job of a Jew is not to describe things as they are, but as they ought to be. We're not just realists; we're thoughtful and reflective optimists who, in the words of the late Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, choose optimism over pessimism because "optimists and pessimists die the exact same death, but they live very different lives."

Rabbi Akiva and Optimism

One millennium after the story of the spies, the Talmud tells the story of Rabbi Akiva and his rabbinic colleagues traveling to Jerusalem. When they approached the Temple Mount, they saw foxes exiting the Holy of Holies. How did the rabbis respond? With tears. How did Rabbi Akiva react? By channeling his inner Kalev — with optimism and laughter.

"Eikhah, how?"

The rabbis asked Rabbi Akiva this very question, and his answer is a subtle hint into the psyche of the success of the Jewish experience from antiquity to today.

"Why do you laugh?" they asked.
"Why do you cry?" he replied

How can we not cry, they said, when we see foxes milling about a place of which it is written that "a stranger who draws near shall die?"

To which, Rabbi Akiva replied, "This is precisely why I laugh. Uriah wrote, 'Zion shall be plowed as a field.' Zachariah wrote, 'Old men and women shall yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem.' So long as Uriah's prophecy was not fulfilled, I worried that Zachariah's prophecy might not be fulfilled. Now that Uriah's prophecy was fulfilled, there is no question that Zachariah's prophecy will also be fulfilled."

Of course, seeing the Temple desolate was devastating. The rabbis' objective assessment was accurate. It was realistic. It was fair. But Rabbi Akiva saw things through the lens of anchored optimism — not objective reality and not juvenile fantasy.

Russian author Leo Tolstoy asks, "What is the Jew? What kind of creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish?"

I think we can begin to answer that question. From Kalev to Rabbi Akiva and from the early Zionists who conquered this land by sheer will, the Jewish people have shown the ability to see what others either cannot or choose not to, to live lives of anchored optimism and to "choose life" in the face of adversity and trauma.

I don't know if the synagogues will let us pray this coming Sabbath or if they will be closed. But where-ever we pray, we need to add Avinu Malkeinu  (Our Father our King) to the prayers for that is the secret of Jewish Survival. At the time of Purim and today.


Ideas, that help explain how the world works

McNamara Fallacy: A belief that rational decisions can be made with quantitative measures alone, when in fact the things you can't measure are often the most consequential. Named after Defense Secretary McNamara, who tried to quantify every aspect of the Vietnam War.

Rodger Ebert Ideas

Every great film should seem new every time you see it. Roger Ebert

No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough. Roger Ebert

I don't require movies to be about good people, and I don't reject screen violence. Roger Ebert

That's what fantasies are for, to help us imagine that things are better than they are. Roger Ebert

Nobody looks perfect. We have to find peace with the way we look and get on with life. Roger Ebert


Ramparts of the Jerusalem old city

On first day of Purim, the lovers discover the Northern Ramparts walk, from Shar Yafo to the Lions Gate. One of the top attractions in Jerusalem with three thousand years of history

Health Ministry's Latest Decree: Don't Leave Home At All, Very Few Exceptions

These are the guidelines issued by Israel's Health Ministry on Tuesday to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic:

1. Do not leave home except in situations that absolutely require it.

2. Do not leave home for parks, playgrounds, the beach, pools, libraries, museums, nature reserves, and gardens or other public spaces, except for taking your children with the family, and to walk your animal by yourself.

3. There will be no classes at all, not even with a minimum number of participants, including sports clubs and gyms. This rule applies to classes that take place in public and in private settings. An unorganized sporting activity can be carried out in a group of up to 5 people, maintaining a distance of two meters.

4. Social connections should be maintained by remote communication. Avoid hosting friends and family who do not reside at your home.

5. Guidelines for at-risk populations: elderly and people of any age with severe chronic illnesses, prolonged respiratory illnesses including asthma, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, immune system disorders and conditions, malignant diseases and immune system disorders, must avoid going out of the house as much as possible, and must not host people at home, except for essential services. Friends and family should be relied on to deliver supplies to your home.

6. Reduce the need to leave home utilizing the following tools: remote work, video calls, and teleconferencing; every employer must keep a two-meter distance between employees and ensure personal and environmental hygiene rules; shipping and delivery services only to the doorstep; dental treatment should be postponed for all treatments except in emergency situations.

7. Even when leaving home in situations that require it, contact between people must be minimized and a 2-meter distance must be maintained.

8. Consumption of health services: if there is a health problem, it is advisable to seek remote medical services and not reach the clinic physically as much as possible, in accordance with your HMO's guidelines online and in the media.

Immediately upon commencement of the quarantine, the communication channels with your HMO must be established. If you need medical attention, check the Internet or with family members if you need medical services.

If you feel that you are developing an illness with a fever, with or without respiratory symptoms, you should go into home isolation and avoid contact with family members. Your temperature should be measured twice a day. If you are concerned, contact your doctor or the referral center of your HMO.

In case of a fever, the patient must remain in isolation for up to two days after the fever has subsided. The rest of the family will be in isolation only in a diagnosed case of the coronavirus.

Max Brooks PSA: Stay Away from the Elderly By David Israel

Max Brooks says: "If I get coronavirus I'll probably be fine, but I could give it to my dad, who would give it to Carl Reiner, who would give it to Dick Van Dyke and a whole generation of comedians would be wiped out. So stay home!

See you tomorrow with the help of the Maschiach!

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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